Historical Register

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The Airport was a Works Progress Administration project sponsored by the City of Olympia. Construction of the large hangar started in October 1936. The frame structure measures 80 by 108 feet and could accommodate 10 "ships" as planes were called then. The hangar had two equipment servicing shops and two upstairs offices. Other airport improvements included paving, cone lights and the installation of a double beacon. The dedication of the hangar in October, 1937 was an event of civic importance with an air show, race and public rides.

In 1939, the Civilian Pilot Training program started at the airport with the ground school located at St. Martin’s College. Some 1,150 people were trained as pilots, radio technicians and mechanics. With the outbreak of war in 1941, the military took over control of the airport and civilian traffic moved inland. The 37th Fighter  squadron located at the airport was part of the 55th Fighter Group between July 22, 1942 and August 23, 1943. The squadron started out flying P-43 Lancers and converted to P-38 Lightnings. The squadron had 180 enlisted men and 35 officers based at the airport.

It was transferred back to the city in 1947 and H. A. Buroker assumed control in 1947 as Aviation Industries Company, offering a GI flight school and regular services, as did a number of other former pilot trainers who located at the facility.

By 1950 activity had slowed considerably at the airport and Capital Airways took over the major operations. A number of fixed base operators came and went. The Port of Olympia acquired the airport in 1963 and it was annexed to Tumwater in 1987. The State Patrol has leased the structure since 1967 for their Aviation Division.
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